News FocusScience Funding

Philanthropy's Rising Tide Lifts Science

Science  08 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5438, pp. 214-223
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5438.214

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Philanthropy is booming, fueled by profits made in the stock market--especially the explosive growth of Internet stocks, which has created overnight billionaires. U.S. private foundations will spend an estimated $20 billion this year, the total going into science is growing fast, and several new players have joined the big spenders. Several U.S. nonprofits have launched bold new science-oriented projects, and even foundations that have not realized tremendous gains in their endowments are getting in on the act with high-impact, big-bucks gifts to science. Foundations can be more free-wheeling in their support for science than the federal government, and they have a diverse set of procedures for deciding what to fund.